A comprehensive guide to explainer videos – 15 compelling examples
A thorough explainer on explainer videos – why you most certainly need one
11 minute read
Explainer videos are very popular, and there’s a good reason for that. These videos help companies explain their products and services, making it easier for their customers and business partners to make informed decisions.
Do you need to create an explainer video? Here’s the ultimate guide to explainer videos.
1. What is an explainer video?
2. How to make an explainer video
3. Price of explainer videos
4. 8 explainer video templates
5. 9 examples of explainer videos
6. Explainer video software
What is an explainer video?
Nearly 90% of marketers use short-form audio content to drive prospects to interact with their company or brand. This type of content needs to be impactful and have quality audio to attract the target. Having paid off in 2022, it is frequently used on various social networks, such as TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.
Explainer videos are short video or animated clips that allow companies to explain a process, product or service, or generally tell stories about their brand in a clear and engaging way.
In terms of key conventions, these videos are often characterized by simple graphics and very clear language. This approach helps companies communicate the mechanics and benefits of complex products and services in a very clear way. Without them, many companies would struggle.
Studies show that video has the potential to increase engagement and facilitate knowledge retention, making explainer videos a particularly important way to succinctly convey information.
These videos first appeared around 2010, when internet access speeds began to facilitate video streaming. At the time, pioneering companies like Twitter took advantage of this format to introduce their platforms to potential users.
Since then, explainer videos have gained in popularity. They’re now more useful than ever, given users’ shrinking attention spans and voracious appetite for video content.
How-to videos are now essential tools in every marketer’s arsenal. As a project manager, you may have followed the evolution of these videos over the years. But how are they made?
How to make an explainer video
The secret to creating the perfect explainer video is planning – and lots of planning. To create a video that exudes quality and engages viewers, every element must be in perfect harmony.
When it comes to this type of video, a project manager can really make a difference. Here’s an overview of the five steps in the creative process. Keep in mind that this is a general outline, as these steps vary from project to project.
1. Careful planning and design
The success of your explainer video depends on good planning. Because there will be many dependencies and interconnected tasks, your team must work together without rushing or falling behind. In other words, you need to create a detailed project scope statement, a clear project plan and a solid timeline for your project.
These tools will help your team work smoothly together.
At this stage, you should have an idea of the concept. It will help you to accurately define your needs, in terms of resources and team members.
2. Scripting and storyboarding
Once you have project management tools and a solid concept, it’s time to start writing the script and storyboard. Some project managers prefer the script to take the lead, but it is often best to tackle these tasks simultaneously.
While this process can be very complex, the best explainer videos combine a clear script with stunning visuals that complement and reinforce each other. The best way to create this relationship is to focus on combining the two early on.
At this stage, ideas are key. Don’t be afraid to run the script and storyboards through several drafts, which will help refine the idea and get the best possible versions for production.
3. Voiceover recordings
At this stage, some project managers prefer to move on to the illustration and animation phase, but it often makes sense to tackle voiceover recordings once the scripts and storyboards are in place.
There are two main reasons for this tactic:
- Having a finalized voiceover helps your animators and sound designers understand the pace and speed of the video. So they won’t need to adjust their work to accommodate the voiceover.
- A voiceover really helps an explainer video succeed. Viewers identify more closely with the voices, so they need to be perfect to get the key messages across. If the voiceover is an afterthought, it will become ineffective.
4. Music, illustration and animation
Now that everything is in place, it’s time to think about the music that will accompany your explainer video. This tactic sets the tone and gives your animators cues for the action on the screen.
Once the track is in place, you can let your talented designers and animators work their magic. Their work will be dictated by the voiceover and music track you select. Detailed storyboards also help your team produce accurate work the first time.
5. Sound design
Finally, you need to call in your sound engineers to add any sound effects or other necessary touches.
This step can really flesh out an explainer video and make it believable. (We’ll cover some examples of this step a little later). The work should be precise, so your sound designers will be happy to add a layer on top of a nearly finished product with all the timings set.
Price of explainer videos
Explainer videos are short, but they can still be expensive to produce. In fact, the costs may surprise those outside the marketing world.
Most agencies charge per minute of video, but this protocol can vary depending on the type of video requested and other external factors.
Creating one minute of a quality explainer video can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000. While this range may seem exorbitant, here are some of the tasks involved in creating an effective explainer video:
- Illustration and animation
- Sound design
- Voiceover recording
- Project management
To get the best results and create an outstanding explainer video, each step must be executed perfectly. For example, animation can make or break a explainer video.
Eight explainer video examples
Templates can help your team get to work and produce quality work in the shortest time possible. Here’s a look at the templates that can help you produce the best explainer videos.
Product explainer video
Biteable offers its visitors a wide range of explainer video templates. The service in the browser is free, which makes it easy to edit templates with unique images and text.
It is fun to play with this tool. Even if it is not used to create a final explainer video, it is an effective tool for creating a proof of concept. This explainer video template makes it easy for you to create a modern, fluid and easy to understand video.
Animated explainer video
To empower its users, Renderforest offers its users an explainer video toolkit. The tool offers more than 500 interactive scenes and a vast combination of characters, videos, photo holders and kinetic photographs to create stunning videos.
The process is simple, and it can be used to create a detailed proof of concept or even a finalized explainer video. It’s impressive to see what videographers have achieved using this tool, and you can find plenty of inspiration for your own animated video by looking at the templates.
Explanatory video of the application
Biteable offers a clear explainer video template that can be used to guide viewers through the process of creating a new app. While these apps can sometimes be confusing, their value proposition is not immediately clear. So these explainer videos must be effective!
This template is attractive and modern, helping companies clearly articulate an app’s value proposition and showing them exactly how it looks and works. The minimal design style uses some nice visual effects, showing that less really can be more.
Whiteboard explainer video
Animaker offers a wide range of video templates to help its users create videos in minutes. There are many templates to choose from. A key option is a template for whiteboard videos.
Today, these videos may seem a bit dated, but they are still very popular. Viewers are drawn in by the action in front of them, allowing you to effectively get your messages across. The combination of handwritten text and voiceover can also create a truly personal experience.
Cartoon explainer video
Once again, Animaker has some great animated explainer video templates. Their style is fun and quirky, which helps companies present their products or services to viewers in an engaging and accessible way.
The colors are stylish, and the music matches the tone. These features show how various elements can come together to become greater than the sum of their parts. This type of cartoon explainer video is perfect for companies that want to explain more abstract concepts.
Template for explainer video scripts
Studiobinder offers a nice change of pace by providing a free template for explainer video scripts. To make an effective explainer video, this document helps you focus your script and hit all the key points along the way.
The document also covers timecodes, which helps users consider the timing and cadence of the explainer video. When it comes to creating an effective explainer video, scripts are often overlooked, which will really help your team focus and give your video the attention it deserves.
2D explainer video
With this template for 2D explainer videos, Animaker shows us that explainer videos don’t have to be all about flashy animations and cutting-edge graphics. This video is fun and lively, and it gets key information across while energizing the viewer.
This 2D option is ideal for conveying important graphics and text to the viewer. The simple color palette keeps it consistent and clean looking. This makes it easy to adapt the template to your client’s brand guidelines.
Website explainer video
Renderforest offers this template for online explainer videos, which will help users increase the number of visits to their website. It offers more than 40 interactive scenes, which makes it easy to promote an application, service, product, website or even an entire company.
Since this template is highly customizable, you can experiment with the different scenes and resources, which is a great way to let your creativity run wild! Even if you don’t use the final video, this tool is a great way to create a proof of concept and come up with new ideas.
Explanatory video for startups
Renderforest also offers an explainer video template for startups. This tool is perfect for startups that want to quickly share their new business and innovative products. Since this tool is often complex, an explainer video can help make things as clear as possible.
Like other Renderforest templates, it offers an impressive array of assets. Users will find over 100 corporate scenes that make it easy to create videos for a wide range of purposes, including corporate and academic presentations.
Nine sample explainer videos
We bet you can’t wait to start imagining the types of videos you can create in the future. Ready to see how all of the above steps play out? Here are examples of some of the best explainer videos:
Currency explainer video
Mint helps its users manage their money and keep track of their financial lives. For many people, finances are a sensitive and personal topic. Therefore, this explainer video creates a sense of confidence.
This explainer video achieves this goal by highlighting the struggles of viewers and how difficult it can be to keep track of your finances. The rest of the video then focuses on how Mint can remedy these problems.
This structure is effective, and it helps contextualize the entire explainer video. While this video is information rich, it uses graphics effectively and holds the viewer’s attention.
Dropbox explainer video
Dropbox has established itself as a key player in the competitive cloud storage landscape. The company now has over 500 million users, storing over 1.2 billion files! While the architecture is complex, this excellent explainer video makes it simple.
This video does a great job of explaining how to use this platform.
The skits are fun, and the voiceover is lighthearted, giving the platform a lighthearted feel.
Bitcoin explainer video
Even though bitcoin is so prevalent in contemporary commerce, many people still do not fully understand it. In the example above, The Guardian aims to fill that gap or offer a definitive overview of exactly what bitcoin is and how it works.
This overview is authoritative, thanks to a friendly and expressive voiceover, combined with simple animation and an intriguing visual style. This video is also a great example of a whiteboard video.
This video also deviates from convention, in terms of length. Most explainer videos are short and quick. But since this video aims to educate its viewers, it is much longer.
Upwork explainer video
Upwork is the largest digital freelancing platform in the world. It has two important target groups to satisfy: freelancers and employers. In this quick explainer video, it manages to articulate its value and mechanisms.
Explanatory video about the crazy egg
Crazy Egg offers website optimization services for businesses, which aim to improve results and key metrics overall. The platform offers an excellent explainer video that presents its main selling points through simple animation, screenshots, and a clear voiceover.
In terms of constructive criticism, we could point to the density of information included in the video. There is a lot to take in, and the benefits are not placed in the most visible place possible! Also, there seems to be a slight mix of animation styles, which may be confusing for some viewers.
Airbnb explainer video
This explainer video from Airbnb is imaginative and inspiring, but it’s also very informative and practical. It reconciles these two concepts with a great script, strong voiceover and a truly amazing video.
In fact, so much work went into the video that there is a behind-the-scenes segment! The dioramas were built by hand, which shows a new level of commitment and talent. This option won’t be feasible for many teams, but this example is helpful because it shows that the possibilities are endless and that you don’t have to be limited to traditional formats.
Adobe’s explainer video
Since Adobe caters to creatives, it needs to take its marketing materials to the next level. The explainer video above is a great example!
To get viewers excited about the prospect of using Adobe Creative Cloud, a mix of stunning styles and imagery is used. This explainer video is a great example of how a voiceover isn’t always necessary. It’s a smart and clever use of how on-screen text can work wonders!
Buffer explainer video
Buffer is a platform that helps marketers effectively manage their social media marketing initiatives. We like this product explainer video because it’s quick, clear and to the point.
Again, on-screen text is used to describe each of the key features. When the text appears, screen recordings show exactly what the platform looks like and how it works. This approach means that new Buffer users will be up and running as soon as they enter the platform. The music is also very light.
Explanatory video software
To get the best results, your team needs the right tools for the job. Here’s a look at some of the best explainer video software on the market:
Vyond helps marketing professionals create media that moves. By opening up access to amazing video creations, this tool aims to change the way the world communicates, one video at a time.
It’s doing well, too. To date, more than 12 million users have created over 22 million videos. What are the secrets to the platform’s success?
The platform offers a large library of templates that its users can use in their own videos. In terms of target audience, it caters to everyone from small business owners to consultants and academics.
The tool focuses on ease of use and simplicity, so it can really help the average person create something special! This platform offers users a free trial, so there is nothing to lose in terms of understanding the tool.
Powtoon allows marketing professionals to create videos in minutes. Using the quick and easy tools provided, users have created nearly 68 million videos and presentations.
Major companies like eBay and Coca-Cola have used the platform to captivate and engage their audiences and deliver their key messages. In addition to marketers, students and laymen can also use the platform to create impressive presentations and videos.
The platform boasts that it can help its users achieve professional results in just 20 minutes with a series of ready-to-use templates. It is also possible to create a free account without having to provide a credit card. If you think this platform can work for you, it’s worth experimenting with it and taking the time to fully grasp it.
Founded in 2014, Animaker helps companies leverage their in-house creativity and meet the growing demand for visual marketing.
The company was founded on the premise that creating visual content in-house can be very costly and time-consuming. This platform aims to solve these problems by providing effective tools that can help the average employee unleash their creativity and knowledge.
By putting the keys to creativity in the hands of internal experts, this tool aims to make the creative process more efficient. Animaker offers a wide range of templates, and the product itself has garnered many positive reviews.
It’s also possible to sign up for a free account, so there’s really nothing to lose by trying the platform and seeing how it performs. While the tool is not capable of producing a final video, it can be used to produce rough drafts and proofs of concept.
4. Adobe Animate
Adobe Animate aims to usher in a new era of animation. The tool enables interactive vector and bitmap animations to be designed for a range of marketing materials. With these features, it is easier and faster to reach viewers across a range of devices.
As part of the Adobe suite, this tool is specialized, but it can really improve the productivity and quality of your in-house animators. With this tool, users will be able to create truly stunning environments and characters full of life.
This type of tool may be a little above the average explainer video, but it can be used to create something really special. The tool is also part of Adobe’s Creative Suite. So if your team is already a subscriber, it may be worth experimenting with.
Maya is a powerful computer animation software developed by Autodesk. This tool is used by major Hollywood studios to create animations, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, character designs, etc.
This software is mainly intended for companies. It integrates seamlessly with the entire Autodesk software suite and could be used to create breathtaking explainer videos. Again, this tool may be too elaborate to be classified as an explainer video, but it could create something very special.
6. SmartCuts explainer videos
Not to be outdone, we wanted to include, as a bonus, our own efforts in the genre this year. The first was produced last spring for FMC.
It’s an explainer video that covers the company’s staff safety procedures. Instead of just a simple list of do’s and don’ts, we thought to contextualize the guidelines by placing actors in the situations described, much like an airline safety video before takeoff.
The second is an explanatory video that combines 2D motion graphics and screen shot recordings to clarify the function of an online portal set up by the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics (SIB).
By coaching SIB staff to do the screen recordings themselves, we were able to keep the production on a tight budget. The animated introduction helps to compensate for the dryness of a video based solely on screen captures.
Explainer videos can be a lot of fun to create, and they can really add value to businesses. We hope this in-depth review helps you confidently lead your next explainer video project and get the best possible results for everyone involved! If you need a bit of advice, guidance…if you’re short of time, as so many are, or if you’re looking for something a cut above and tailored to your needs, SmartCuts Creative can produce your explainer video from A to Z. Please visit the Video & Animation Service Page of our website for case studies, samples and client reviews. We look forward to working with you.
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